Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Egg and Vegetable Biryani

I had never heard of egg biryani until I read Mishmash's post. A few months back I tried the recipe (with a few changes..mostly not bothering to measure the ingredients) and it turned out wonderfully! It is very different from the typical Pakistani style biryanis I make and was quite light as well.

I have been making biryanis for a long, long time and apparently have become quite good at it judging from the compliments I get! I believe the key to a good biryani apart from the biryani masala is technique. Without technique, you will not get the same results even if you have the best biryani masala. I have included detailed instructions below that should make this easy to navigate for even a beginner cook. Don't be afraid by all the steps and ingredients. Its really very easy once you get the hang of things.

This time I had some eggs languishing in the fridge along with a few other ingredients and so I decided to make an egg and vegetable biryani. I am including my amended version of the recipe below.

Soak 2.5 cups basmati rice in some water. Rinse out a couple times until the water runs clear. Also start hard boiling 4 eggs in water. Once the water comes to a boil, turn off heat and cover. Leave for 10 minutes or so and you will have perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs.

Make the biryani masala now.

Ingredients for Biryani Masala:

1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp whole allspice (kabab cheeni)
6 cloves
1 tsp black pepper
2 green cardamoms
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp mace
1 tbsp chili powder (feel free to reduce if you like a milder biryani)
1/2 tsp turmeric

Grind everything to a fine powder and keep aside.

Ingredients to make curry:
3 medium onions
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 inches ginger, chopped
1 black cardamom
1/2 cup tomato sauce, or 2 roma tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3-4 tbsp oil
1 large potato, cubed
1 carrot, cubed
Biryani masala from above
2 cups water
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot and fry onions until light brown. Add chopped garlic, ginger and cardamom and fry for a few minutes. Do not brown the garlic and ginger during this time. dd tomato sauce/fresh tomatoes and fry until the mixture becomes a paste and the oil separates from the paste. Now add the biryani masala, potato and carrot. Fry for 5 minutes, add yogurt and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and check for desired thickness. The cury should be a little thick because we will need to layer it with the rice. Cover and cook.

Meanwhile, prepare the egg omelette.

Ingredients for egg omelette:

4 eggs
1 medium onion, chopped very finely
1-2 green chillies (depending on how hot you like it)
salt to taste

Mix the above ingredients and cook with a tiny amount of oil. Flip and cook the other wise. Set aside to cool. When cool, cut into strips and reserve.

Check to see if the potatoes and carrots are done. If they are almost done, you may cook uncovered. Check the consistency of the curry as well. It should be somewhat thick. Not too thick since we need to add the omelette to the mixture as well and layer with rice.

Meanwhile boil the rice that you soaked in salted water until it is almost done (al dente..just like pasta). Run cold water over this while draining. Be sure all the water has been drained from the rice.

Chop 1/2 bunch cilantro

And now for the final part!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take a shallow baking tray, coat lightly with oil or cooking spray and place 1/3 of the rice in a layer. Add 1/2 of curry and spread evenly over the rice. Garnish with 1/2 of the cilantro. Add another 1/3 of the rice, top with the rest of the curry and cilantro and finish with the remaining rice.

Cover lightly with foil and place in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven, uncover and enjoy!

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